I started the day with a season total of 399 balls. My first snag, therefore, a toss-up from Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio, was somewhat of a milestone. Here I am with it in the left field seats:
Yes, eight days after spraining my ankle, I was still on crutches.
My second ball was tossed by a random guy who looked like a strength/conditioning coach. In the following photo, the red arrow is pointing at him:
The brief story behind that ball is that lots of fans had been calling out to him, and he’d ignored everyone. At one point, when he jogged near me to retrieve one from the warning track, I asked, “Is there any chance that you could toss that ball to me, please? Are you even allowed?” As soon as he heard the word “allowed,” he turned and flung it to me.
Ball No. 3 was tossed by Dodgers outfielder Trent Oeltjen. Nothing fancy about it. It rolled to the wall. He jogged over. I asked him for it. He saw me standing there with crutches and hooked me up. Soon after, I gave that ball to kid who hadn’t yet snagged one.
Do you remember the photo of me with Marc Stout from my previous entry? Marc, you might recall, is a reporter with Root Sports, and we’d planned to do a brief interview during BP. Understandably, he didn’t want me wearing Dodgers gear on camera, so when he found me in the left field seats, I quickly threw on my Rockies cap — and BAM, the interview quickly got underway. Here’s a photo that was taken (by Nettie Wood) in the middle of it:
Did you notice what Marc was holding in his left hand? Here’s a hint.
Among the many topics that we discussed rapid-fire, we covered my baseball collection and my books and my trip to the Rawlings baseball factory. I must admit that I was a bit distracted during the interview because we were right there in Home Run Land; I had to keep one eye on the field so that we wouldn’t get drilled by a baseball. Once we finished, Marc told me that the interview was going to air the following day during the Rockies’ pre-game show. (Did anyone happen to see it?)
After Marc took off, I got a visit from this guy:
Does he look familiar? His name is Pat Graham, and he writes for the Associated Press. He and I spent a good chunk of time together on 6/17/08 and 6/18/08 at Coors Field, after which he wrote this huge article about me. He’s super-nice, and it was great catching up with him.
Batting practice was still in progress, and I snagged two more balls. The first was tossed by Chad Billingsley and had a huge gash in it…
…and the second was a Juan Uribe homer that I caught on the fly. I had to hop about five feet to my left in order to get in line with it. Once I was there, the catch itself was easy.
After BP, I caught up with a guy named Mike who’d brought his copy of The Baseball. Here we are with it just after I signed it for him:
Mike (who snagged three balls during BP and skinned his knee) might also look familiar. Check out the first photo in my entry from 8/11/10 at Citi Field.
The game got underway at 6:10pm.
Here’s a random photo of the scoreboard that I took in the top of the 3rd inning:
Here’s a photo of Danny and Nettie Wood:
(Nice seats, huh?)
These are the folks that I’m staying with here in Denver. Not only are they great friends, but they’ve effectively become my host-parents — and on this particular trip (with my particularly screwed up ankle), they’ve taken extra-special care of me.
After the final out of the Dodgers’ 11-7 win, I went here:
My goal was to get a ball thrown to me by one of the Dodgers’ relievers as they exited the bullpen, and that’s exactly what happened — sort of. Mike MacDougal finally looked up after I shouted his name half a dozen times…and he threw a ball to me…but it sailed five feet over my head…and was caught by another fan…who then offered it to me. I declined. And I was pissed. But that’s just how it goes.
• 404 balls in 49 games this season = 8.24 balls per game.
• 710 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 236 consecutive games with at least two balls
• 5,066 total balls
(I’m raising money again this season for Pitch In For Baseball, a non-profit charity that provides baseball equipment to underprivileged kids all over the world. Click here to learn more.)
• 52 donors
• $6.94 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)
• $34.70 raised at this game
• $2,803.76 raised this season
All four baseballs have invisible ink stamps, or at least traces of invisible ink. Check out the following comparison in regular light versus black light:
Now check out what I did after photographing those baseballs: